LIVE: John Kerry discusses US priorities on climate change

LIVE: John Kerry discusses US priorities on climate change

Climate Diplomacy and Progress

  • The US rejoined the Paris Agreement and fulfilled the promise of delivering $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries.
  • The Global Methane Pledge aims for a 30% reduction in methane emissions by 2030.
  • The President's Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) was established to help vulnerable communities cope with climate impacts.
  • The First Movers Coalition and the Agricultural Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate were formed to accelerate the transition to green technologies.
  • Progress was made in negotiations with China, resulting in the UAE consensus that includes a commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels in a fair, orderly, and equitable manner to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, in line with the 1.5-degree Celsius goal.

Economic Transformation and Clean Energy

  • Investments in clean energy and infrastructure can create jobs, drive growth, and transform economies.
  • Addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is crucial, as poor air quality causes millions of deaths annually.

COP28 Summit and Climate Finance

  • The upcoming COP28 summit in Baku will focus on finance, particularly securing a successor to the expiring $100 billion annual donation commitment.
  • A new impact fund will be established to deal with negative climate impacts and ensure the implementation of the UAE consensus reached at COP27.
  • New Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are due next February, and countries should start working on them now to ensure readiness.

Human Rights and International Relations

  • The US raises concerns about human rights records in host countries for climate summits and emphasizes the importance of fair, orderly, and equitable treatment of individuals.
  • Despite stepping down from their positions, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua remain hopeful that the positive working relationship between the US and China on climate change will continue.
  • Climate change is a multilateral issue that requires cooperation from all major emitting countries, and no single country can solve the problem alone.
  • The US and China have made progress in understanding how to avoid unintended conflicts, but there is still competition between the two countries.
  • The US and Russia are not currently engaged in discussions on climate change due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Western sanctions on Russia are not believed to be affecting global efforts to fight climate change, as Russia has the ability to make significant emissions reductions if it chooses to.

Middle East and Climate Challenges

  • Some Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq, are heavily dependent on fossil fuels and are major emitters of greenhouse gases. The US is working with Iraq to reduce flaring and venting of methane.
  • The transition away from fossil fuels in the Middle East needs to be done quickly to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.
  • Wars, such as the conflicts in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas, increase vulnerability to ecological destruction and contribute to climate change.

John Kerry's Continued Involvement

  • John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, discussed the importance of planning for the future during times of conflict, highlighting the unique approach taken by Ukraine in this regard.
  • Kerry addressed concerns about US restrictions on Chinese businesses and investments in the clean energy sector, acknowledging their impact but emphasizing the broader goal of sending a message.
  • He stressed the significance of China's role in combating climate change, given its substantial emissions and renewable energy deployment.
  • Kerry highlighted the negative environmental consequences of coal burning, including its impact on air quality, ocean chemistry, and marine ecosystems.
  • He clarified the US position on the loss and damage fund, stating that the US supports helping vulnerable countries affected by climate change but opposes linking it to liability and compensation.
  • Kerry explained his involvement in establishing the loss and damage fund at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, emphasizing the importance of finding common ground and ensuring its feasibility.
  • He described the fund as an "impact fund" to address the effects of the climate crisis on vulnerable countries, with an initial contribution of $17.5 million from the US.
  • Kerry expressed his intention to continue his involvement in climate-related efforts as a private citizen, including attending upcoming conferences such as COP and the Oceans Conference.

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